Friday, 29 August 2014

Latest News

A wee update on the happenings at Remy's Music & Film Blog over the last while and what's coming up in the future. Well I received great news this week that the Blog has been nominated in the 'Best Music' category of the Blog Awards Ireland 2014, and I can only thank the people who visit the blog regularly and the great bands and artists who have sent me in their amazing music over the last 12 months, these are the things that motivate me along with, of course, the passion for writing about it. There has also been an increase in requests for interviews which I think is great, it definitely adds a new dimension to the posts and mixes things up a little, so expect more over the next few months as well. 

I also want to quickly take the opportunity to thank Gavin for his contributions over the past year, it's difficult when you're running the blog solo and sometimes it can get quite busy on the music side of things and I don't get a chance to do film reviews as much as I used to. It's also great to have someone on board who knows his stuff so well having studied it and worked in film production, he can also surmise a film or documentary far better than I can, my ramblings tended to go on and on at times!

Blog Awards Launch Party, Pacino's, Suffolk Street

In terms of what's coming up over the next little while, Gavin and I have been procrastinating about 'shooting' (i.e. iPhone video) our own film reviews together for quite some time and we should probably get the thumb out soon. I'm also looking into doing music review podcasts and would like to thank Luke from The Movie Express (great & up to speed reviews, check it out) for his advice re: same. In addition, and I've probably never mentioned it before, I'd be interested in any contributions any one wants to make, be it following a trip to the cinema, watching a film at home, a gig you were at or any music / film related events, it can be as short or as long as you like, so keep it in mind.

So again, thank you all very much and I really appreciate everyone's support and visits to this floating plank of driftwood.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Mail Order Messiahs - Album Release, Practical

(Photo by Katie Farrell)

Mail Order Messiahs, 'Practical Man', single

Info: Mail Order Messiahs (aka Mike Liffey) is a Dublin based multi-instrumentalist and singer who releases his second album Practical, on the 15th of September, which is the follow up to 2009's Plain (with Dar Fahy). Liffey's music wades into various moods seamlessly from the energetic single 'Practical Man' (above) to the atmospheric and gentle piano playing of fifth track 'Genetic'. Described as an album about 'work, love, and life in a society flirting with financial catastrophe', many of the albums tracks take aim at the drudgery of office life, consumerism as well as addressing the hypocrisy of self-assuredness on the humorous 'Rent Control Libertarian' summed up in the lines;

'You are perfection, that is to say, nothing can be added and there's nothing left to take away,

Except for a couple of things, like the way you shout when you mean to sing,
And on matters political, you can be a little right-wing,

how you pontificate about the welfare state,

you who were dropped off at the school front gates in daddy's great big Volvo estate'.

Mail Order Messiahs album is difficult to describe, while it loosely fits into the indie genre, such a tag would give the wrong idea to someone who hasn't listened to Liffey's music. From a contemporary perspective I can see some similarities musically to the likes of Beach House, in a very stripped down sense, on some of the livelier tracks, and also vocal similarities to Sigur Rós' Jónsi on others. There's also definitely a recurrent 80's feel but I just can't adequately find a frame of reference for the softer tracks, perhaps that is simply because there are none. The album closes with the beautiful 'Land Ahoy' and 'The Purist', both of which add significantly to the overall atmosphere of Practical, an album which is very rewarding for the listener and also indicates that Mike Liffey not only knows how to write great songs, but knows what great songs are supposed to sound like.

Additional info: You can pre-order Practical here or on

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Stereo Off, 'New York' E.P. & Interview

Stereo Off, 'Bullet Time'

Info: Stereo Off are a New York based 5-piece with a sound that spans a wide spectrum of both musical influences and decades. The band are also a creative hive, with lead singer Sebastian Marciano doubling up as an actor in the above video for their new single 'Bullet Time', which is also filmed by bass-player and rhythm guitarist Niall Madden, and it works a charm. The slow build up and dark bass of the track, which maps the pursuit of Sebastian through a psychotic and disorientating underground of New York at night, leads to a funky disco chorus that's very catchy.

One of Stereo Off's strongest attributes is their versatility with regard to their sound. One minute you're listening to David Byrne or Television with the legendary Pavement (Brighten The Corners-era) on the opening track of their New York E.P., 'Photographs', and the next you've been shuffled off to a seedy 80's disco with the previously mentioned electro-beat 'Bullet Time', even without the video. The third track, 'Effectual' has a very Daft Punk feel with almost soulful vocals by Marciano, before we get to the stripped-down indie track 'The Thrill', a lovely emotional ballad that's got The Cure written all over it. The final track 'MI6' whisks us back to a definitively contemporary sound with a guitar-driven punk vibe that suddenly veers off to Deep Purple or The Doors (you decide) psychedelic keyboards before bring the E.P. to a grinding halt. The New York E.P. by Stereo Off has to be one of the most diverse sounding releases I've heard in a long, long time, and it keeps you hooked in from start to finish as a result. 

Stereo Off, 'Photographs'

I had the opportunity to fire some questions to the band about their work and for once got to shoot the breeze about a bit of film also:

Remy: I’ve been known to dabble in a bit of short film myself, but from the other side of the camera, a hell of a lot of work goes into short film and music videos, especially when you’re filming at multiple locations (and in b&w), how long did it take to shoot ‘Bullet Time’?

Niall: It's hard to say because the bad weather gave us a bit of a delay to starting off. Justin (from Dead Red Eyes) and I got working on the story line and schedules though, and once we got started, I think two full weekends were dedicated to sorting out shots and clips for editing. Looking back, the hardest part was coordinating schedules with everyone to use their places!

Remy: Some scenes in the music video reminded me of the chaotic night experienced by the main character in fellow New Yorker Martin Scorsese’s 1985 film After Hours, intentional or coincidence, and if the latter, what was the main concept behind the storyline you made?

Niall: Well spotted. The video is built around a chaotic chase, filled with late night paranoia and is full of reference to many a 70's and 80's film that showed NYC in its grittier days, mixed with low budget classics like Carnival of Souls. One scene is shot in the same location as a Serpico scene for instance.

Remy: ‘Bullet Time’ is described as a ‘mafio-esque cat and mouse chase’, when it comes to gangster films, no city comes near New York in terms of the genre, what is your favourite New York-based gangster film (or tv series) and why?

Niall: I guess I am a fan of old school NYC gangster flicks, from the likes of Goodfellas to Donnie Brasco and Mean Streets. Perhaps being raised on films like that has an influence after all.

Remy: As both a filmmaker and musician, can you pick a person in each field who you’d love to spend a day in their shoes?

Niall: Well, I'd love to create that own niche of audio and video, to a point when a person sees it, and they know it. The RZA definitely did a great job of crossing genres into styles. And well, Nick Cave is an artist I’ll admit I didn't get into until recent years, but have really been listening to a lot of recently, and he's also been involved in screen-writing too, which perhaps is something I would like to get back in to a bit more.

Remy: From my own memories in Dublin, Ireland in the late 80’s and early 90’s the cool kids were all listening to a variety of genres of music, for example, Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam and pretty much anything MTV had on during their golden age, which artists would have been your favourites and have any of them had any direct influence on the music Stereo Off is making right now?

Sebastian: In the late 80s it was Michael Jackson and Guns n' Roses, and in the early nineties I became a huge hiphop fan. Producers like Doctor Dre and DJ Premier who were helping shape the landscape of music in that era have definitely influenced me, as have groups from AC-DC to A Tribe Called Quest.

Bridget was into a lot of drum & bass and experimental electronica in the early 90s, and cites Roni Size and Datach'i as favorites.

Steve: Blur - Graham Coxon is one of the most underrated and inventive guitar players I've ever heard. Plus Nirvana / Kurt Cobain; he could harness feedback like no other.

Darren: Rush and Soundgarden were big influences.

Niall: Back then I was very into 90's indie rock with the DIY sound, such as Archers of Loaf & Pavement, along with a lot of 80’s post punk band influences.  But it was also an era where styles were mixing and matching a lot, and so, a fair bit of hip hop and electronica from those years sneaked in at times too.

Remy: I’ve watched the live video of the opening track on your E.P., ‘Photographs’ and Sebastian reminds me a lot of Ian Curtis or Joe Strummer and the music has a distinctly punk feel, am I reading too much into that?

Sebastian: Niall wrote the guitar riffs on "Photographs" so I'll let him expand on that. Sometimes I go to certain inflections or iconic sounds as a starting point, but those would be the people and genres that Curtis influenced, so the answer is yes, though indirectly.

Niall: I've been told that some of the riffs and songs have an early 80s' post punk style influence on riffs. And well, Joe Strummer.... The Clash were one of my favourite bands growing up, so it must have influenced in some way.   

Remy: In terms of the electro aspect of your music, is that side of the music the sole domain of one member which you all work around (or vice-versa) or is it more of a collaborative effort when writing songs, i.e. everything happens as a unit from start to finish rather than in bits and pieces which are brought together?

Sebastian: We all like electronic music and instruments in some form or another, but most especially myself. I love synthpop, dance music, electroclash and anything with oscillators in it. As a producer this is also how a lot of the songs start, sometimes staying mostly a produced piece with overdubs, or live instrument tracks mangled into seemingly completely electronic sounds. Other times being completely altered and replaced by more traditional instruments played by the band, and most usually a combination of the two. 

Niall: I perhaps add more of the latter. I have more of a background in which things do not necessarily need to be a perfect fit, and over-produced is the enemy in some ways. It's been amazing working on a sound that is a great medium between the two though.  It’s got its quirks and I like that part.

Sebastian: Often Niall or myself will have a song structure and progressions done in full, and then we go in on it together in the studio. Once I write lyrics and lay at least a presentable demo, we'll all get together to learn it, tweak it, re-voice things and add changes and solos, which are often done by Steve and Bridget, while Darren and all of us in rehearsals work on the arrangements together. Then we'll take those elements and work them back into the produced version as well. Sometimes we start very minimal and all throw a piece in, while other tracks are very straight-forward and get tweaked and arranged a bit as we go. So it's done in pieces and then becomes a virtuous cycle. 

Remy: It’s a horribly clichéd question but people always love the answer to it, so here goes! Can each of you tell us which of your contemporaries you really enjoy listening to? 

Sebastian likes Miami Horror, The Strokes, Washed Out, and Van She. Darren is into Damien Dempsey and Savoir Adore while Steve likes Watermelon Sugar, The Sword and Ty Segall. Niall's recent rotations include Cloud Nothing, The Faint, recent Arctic Monkeys and loads of local bands that he's barely heard of yet.

Remy: Finally, you are due to release your second E.P. soon, when can we expect a full album, and, while taking account of the fact that your journey has only just begun, do you have any plans to tour in Europe, or better yet, Ireland in the near future?! 

Sebastian: We have a third EP planned with some of the winners for the one being recorded currently, as well as some new ones. When it's done we'll take some that we love the most so far, along with a bunch of new material and that will be the first full length Stereo Off album. We don't want to make a heavy concept album by design for the first LP, so while it will have a theme and style, it will be mostly sonically cohesive, not necessarily conceptually though. That said, the style continues to evolve - and plans may change a lot between now and then - blending genres and shaping our sound as we move forward. 

Niall: And we're planning on putting together another video for each EP.

Sebastian: And hell yes, we'd love to tour Ireland and various parts of Europe. We haven't played much together outside of NYC but there are plans in the works to get on some touring bills in the US, as well as take the Stereo Off flag to other shores. And of course, anyone reading this who wants to fly five grateful humans out to rock a party, you know where to find us. We eat and pack light and are very clean, but we will need all of your beer.

Remy: Thanks a million for your time guys, and everyone, you heard Sebastian, let's get Stereo Off to Dublin and get them drunk!

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Heineken Ireland launches 'Sound Atlas' Music Festivals & Documentary

Background: So what is the Heineken Ireland Sound Atlas music platform? The concept behind Sound Atlas is the bringing together of new musical talent and the unique cultural identity of individual cities, and sharing them across the globe at music festivals and via the medium of documentary filmmaking. While the live event is unfolding, documentary crews are recording the highlights of each event, but here’s the twist, participants can interactively influence the direction the documentary takes, for example, at the Longitude Festival in Marlay Park, Dublin last month, gig-goers were encouraged to contribute their own real-time art to the backdrop of the Sound Atlas area under the supervision of artists. 

With each city on the Sound Atlas Tour having its own unique identity, the idea is to share the music scene and culture of each with the next city on the tour and amalgamating the experience with the local music and culture also. The current tour began in Berlin before moving to Brooklyn in New York, which has a strong tradition of block parties, and needless to say is one of the homes of hip-hop. This melting pot of music, street partying and culture recently crossed over the Atlantic to Dublin’s Longitude Festival, and will also be a key element to this weekend’s Electric Picnic Festival, following which the Irish version of the Sound Atlas Tour’s documentary will be pieced together. 

The Sound Atlas Tour by Heineken certainly adds an incomparable dimension to music festivals insofar as it is an evolving and growing idea with up and coming musicians and concert goers central to the entire experience. The blending of music, culture and filmmaking added to the interactive style of the tour promises interesting results. For more information on how to follow The Sound Atlas Tour and latest news, see below;

Music fans too can join in the conversation by following @Heineken_IE and searching #SoundAtlas for exclusive behind the scenes content, live festival updates and prize giveaways. Check out the top spots recommended to Heineken by the people who know the city the best. From the clubs they love, their favourite record stores and hangouts, to their picks of the best places to stay in the city or grab a bite to eat.

To experience the interactive version of this video and see the exclusive travel guide by the people in the know visit

Additional Info: Electric Picnic will be the second festival stop of Heineken Sound Atlas, following on from the Berlin inspired party thrown at Longitude. Sound Atlas at Electric Picnic will be inspired by some of Brooklyn’s most vibrant party spaces including Mister Sunday’s, Battery Harris and The Northern Territory roof garden. The incredible Heineken Sound Atlas structure will house Brooklyn inspired food, music, two terraces and a host of activities to keep revelers entertained across the weekend.

*(This blog post was sponsored by Heineken Ireland)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Interview - Go Swim

Go Swim, 'Call Sign', from Animal E.P. (this track will feature in my Top Songs for 2014 at the end of the year)

Info: Back in June when we were all getting excited for the summer I did an introductory piece on Belfast band Go Swim's upcoming E.P., Animal, and since then they have been shot out of a cannon and into the stratosphere, and while the band said they could pinpoint their meteoric rise back to that post, I told them I would not mention it as it would not be appropriate to attribute their success solely to me.*

Since then the band have, obviously released their E.P. to great critical acclaim (2FM's Dan Hegarty - 'I love that band, everything they've put out so far has so so impressed'), supported The Kaiser Chiefs and are now set to play Bestival at The Isle of Wight at the request of the BBC. With such rapid success there has already been rumours that some band members are requesting certain coloured M&M's be removed from the bowl in their tour bus.** In an attempt to separate the fact from the fiction, I caught up with Steve for an interview, he represented well.

Remy: A lot has happened since we were last in touch, Go Swim are still less than a year together, you’ve released the Animal EP, supported Kaiser Chiefs in Belfast and have recently been selected to play the BBC’s Introducing stage at Bestival in the Isle of Wight, quite the whirlwind, what’s it been like?

Steve: What can I say other than it’s been an absolutely amazing buzz of late. Releasing the EP has been the real catalyst; it was all recorded and produced by our drummer Stef in his attic. We worked really hard on it and put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have it ready to go by June. Thankfully it paid off and we sold out our launch night and the EP received a lot of seriously great reviews and airplay from some much respected media types. Off the back of that came the support slot with the Kaiser Chiefs which, as you can imagine, was mind blowing and when we got the email from BBC inviting us to play at Bestival we couldn't quite believe it. It’s a real honour for us to play at such a prestigious festival and a great opportunity to showcase what we can do. Things are starting to move in the right direction for us and it’s really exciting, although we are keeping our feet firmly on the ground.

Remy: Bestival will be just after Electric Picnic in Ireland with many of the same acts playing both festivals, such as Outkast, Beck and Chic with Nile Rodgers, is there anyone you’ll be particularly interested in going to see collectively or individually?

Steve: Yes it’s a festival that appeals to us as, like EP it has more of an eclectic mix of acts than many of the main stream festivals. Desy, our guitarist, is a massive Nile Rodgers and Chic fan, I think he’s seen them 5 times over the last few years including last night in Belfast! There’s a few up and coming acts such as Catfish and the Bottlemen that I’m keen on checking out but as a collective we are all interested  in seeing the like of Chvrches, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobious Pip and of course Foals who have been an inspiration to us from before we even put this band together and it’s amazing to be on the same line up.

Remy: I’m going to have to put my hand up here and say I don’t recognise many of the names on the Introducing stage, do you know any of the music yourselves, and if yes, any tips for someone who might be heading to Bestival, apart from, of course, making sure they see Go Swim!

Steve: I’m not going to lie, I am not familiar with many of the names either but I guess that’s the beauty of the introducing stage, it’s about discovering new music. Although I did check out a girl called Phildel who is definitely worth a listen.

Remy: I remember back in the mid-noughties a number of bands sprang on the scene at the same time such as Bloc Party, Hard-Fi, Maximo Park and The Kaiser Chiefs, they seem to be the only ones who have consistently been releasing albums since and doing well, what are the lads in the band like, any anecdotes from backstage for us?!

Steve: I wouldn’t say anecdotes as such other than I spent most of my time trying to bag a Go Swim support slot with them on their UK tour but they are a lovely bunch of down to earth lads who were very relaxed and happy to offer their advice. I did witness their pre gig warm up but I couldn’t possibly go into details about that..!

Remy: Getting ready for this interview I had another good few listens to the Animal E.P. and in particular I’ve had ‘Call Sign’ on loop which I think is highly addictive and a fantastic tune, when will we get our grubby mits on Go Swim’s full album release?

Steve: Thank you that’s very kind, 'Call Sign' is my favourite too. It’s actually the first song we wrote and to me still sounds the freshest. An album is something that is definitely a long term goal and we will record one when the times right. At the minute we are just keeping our heads down and writing as much as possible. We may release a new single before the end of the year.

Remy: What’s the most star struck you’ve been since things really gathered momentum following the E.P. release?

Steve: I saw Batman fighting Superman man one Saturday night recently in Belfast City centre recently does that count? 

Remy: So long as it wasn't Val Kilmer and Dean Cain, yes!

Remy:  Growing up in Belfast were any of you keen fans of some of the great musicians from that city such as Stiff Little Fingers, Therapy?, Van Morrison and erm, Brian Kennedy?

Steve: I wouldn’t say growing up we were massive fans of any of those bands but we have a lot of respect for them for getting their message across and making names for themselves. Belfast has seen its bad times and songs like 'Alternative Ulster' summed  up the mood of Belfast and a lot of the province at the time and thankfully the majority of people in Northern Ireland are  keen to continue to move forward and live in a peaceful society. (Remy: little surprise for Jules at the end of the interview)

Remy: I’ve noticed over the last couple of years and the music I’ve had sent to me that there is a serious amount of great bands on this little island at the moment in comparison to say, 10 years ago, including fellow Belfast act, Abandcalledboy, can you attribute that to anything in particular? (i.e. the increasing power of social media, coincidence?)

Steve: I think there’s always been great bands here I guess with the help of the likes of Facebook, Twitter etc. It gives you direct access to an audience you may not have been able to reach before. It also helps that acts such as Two Door Cinema Club, ASIWYFA (And So I Watch You From Afar) are flying the flag for Irish music. On the downside I think the attendance of local gigs has suffered a bit which is a shame as there is so much talent on this island which you can usually see a few miles away from your house for under a tenner rather than pay £60 to stand at the back of an arena watching someone mime.

Remy: A career as a musician is an enviable position to be in, I presume that’s where you all want to be full-time eventually, is it difficult balancing work life with what you’re doing at the moment?

Steve: Unfortunately the downside to being a musician is that it doesn’t pay very well or at all in some cases. You are constantly spending money from your own pocket just to be able to rehearse, buy gear, travel to venues etc. We all work full time to subsidize that and  yeah sometimes that can be difficult, only today we had to turn down a good opportunity due to working commitments. It’s the way it is and we are used to it. The dream is to be able to be able to afford to do this for a living.

Remy: Did any of you have tickets to see Garth Brooks in Dublin?
Steve: Is it on?...Is it off?...Oh it’s on again.. oh wait it’s off again... GOD WHEN WILL IT STOP!! It was like the whole of Ireland came to a stand still for a month. I actually think they should have let it go ahead just so we wouldn’t have to see his face on the tele again whining about it, although I did feel sorry for the people who bought tickets from touts and paid their travel/accommodation upfront, that’s not nice. Not sure about the rest of our band having tickets although I did notice our drummer had some time booked off around those dates and is the owner of a rather dashing checked shirt. In truth I’d rather stick my genitals in a wasps nest than sit through two hours of that. (<<<<< Remy says: 'YES TO THIS!')

* / ** The opening two paragraphs may have contained some unconfirmed claims.

A big thanks to Steve for taking the interview and to all of the band, I wish them all the success in the world. If you want to catch Go Swim here's a few upcoming shows;

Sunflower Fest, Hillsborough, Belfast, 24th of August

Bestival, Isle of Wight, U.K., 7th of September

For Jules!

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

New Irish Music - Tony Fitz - 'Just Another Day' E.P.

Tony Fitz, 'The Murder'

Info: It seems every time I've done a review of an Irish act over the last year or so I've been gushing in my praise, and there comes a point when you wonder do constant positive reviews eventually end up watering down what you're saying, and I've thought about this quite a bit. At the same time it's more important to be honest, and if I keep getting great music sent to me, I'm going to keep giving positive reviews. To qualify things a bit, sometimes it's a few listens before I get into something, and yes, there have been E.P.'s or singles or albums that I've liked significantly more than others, other times I just know instantly that I am going to like something, and this was the case when Tony Fitz sent me on his new E.P., Just Another Day, which will be released on the 12th of September, in Filmbase, Temple Bar. The quality of music I've been receiving in recent times makes me very proud of the Irish music scene at present, especially at a time when money is tight for both musicians and gig goers, which makes the effort they put in even more admirable.

I knew Tony's music was going to be interesting before I'd even listened to it when he described the concept behind the E.P. to me; 'Just Another Day is a Western story told over 5 songs and an accompanying comic book, with artwork from award-winning Dundalk artist, Tommie Kelly.' The opening bars of 'The Murder' (above video) immediately reminded me of The Sons of Anarchy theme, I hope Tony doesn't mind me saying! but you are quickly brought into a western landscape, and imagining Clint Eastwood slowly trotting along on horseback in one of his spaghetti westerns. The music certainly compliments the idea of the story, and the opening lyrics are beautiful, sinister and descriptive;

'There's a girl lying out on the grass by the creek,
and she dangles her toes in the water beneath,
as the sun dances on the surface of the stream

But she doesn't notice the stranger approach or
The twist of his grin as he takes off his coat or the
The glint of the sun on the gun in his hand

The second track, 'Digging' is a powerfully sad dirge about the loss of a child following a harsh winter for a poor rural family with beautiful violin playing, and at times it reminded me a lot of The Frames circa Dance The Devil, but Tony Fitz's lyrics stand on their own ground and like all of the tracks on the E.P., it showcases a rare gift for story-telling with music. Things get nicely cranked up on '19 Years Ago', which has a bit of a Chris Cornell feel to it, like a lo-fi Audioslave song or even something that Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam might have stuck on Vitalogy. Things come full circle on the title track which ends with an alternative choral version of 'The Murder'. While the theme of the 'Just Another Day' E.P. is western, the music itself is a great mix of folk / rock / hint of country, but not in the style were accustomed to being associated with the genre. While I have mentioned bands that the music reminds me of, they are merely pointers, this is a truly unique recording on more than one level and I'm going to put my opinion all out on this one, Just Another Day is an exceptional piece of musicianship and Tony Fitz is ahead of his peers at present.

Tony Fitz, 'Digging'

Release details:

The EP is available to pre-order here:

Tony Fitz plays Another Love Story on 23rd August and Electric Picnic on 29th August.

Homebeat presents the Just Another Day EP launch in Filmbase, Templebar on 12th September with live visuals from Le Tissier, support from @ventures and a DJ set by Bantum.

Tickets €8 from:


Most recently found behind the sound desk at Homebeat events, Tony Fitz is a musician and producer from Kildare. He has recorded and mixed live videos featuring some of Ireland's most exciting acts, including: Bantum, Carriages, Biggles Flys Again, Sleep Thieves, Mark Geary, Cat Dowling, Swords and Rónán Ó'Snodaigh.

Currently working on projects with Red Sail, Diplomat (Biggles Flys Again bassist Michael Murphy), and @ventures (the new band from Heritage Centre front man, Conal McIntrye)

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Friday, 15 August 2014

Not The Robin Williams You're Looking For

Jim Carrey - The Sunday Times - Culture
Culture Magazine, The Sunday Times, 2004

Unfortunately throughout every month of every year an iconic musician or actor passes away and you wake up to the news instantly on your phone, or someone informs you of their death. Sometimes it’s old age and other times it’s more tragic, but it’s not like you dwell on it for too long, that’s life, and it will happen again next month. I’m adverse to posting about such instances because I know enough people will acknowledge that person, hundreds of articles will be written about them, there’s no need for me to add to the tributes even if it’s only to a small audience. While I did do a short piece on James Gandolfini’s death at the start of the summer, I think it had more to do with the fact that I’d just finished watching the entire 6 seasons of The Sopranos back to back more than anything else.

I did briefly think about writing something about Robin Williams but dismissed the idea almost as quickly, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t one of those people who felt they ‘grew up’ with Robin Williams. I remember Mork and Mindy re-runs when I was a child in the 80’s, but all I remember was his weird clothes and animated facial expressions, I was more perturbed than entertained, granted I was only about 4-years-old. Later on I recall seeing The Dead Poets Society, and even at the age of 9 I loved it, without fully comprehending the message or just how great a film it was. Then I saw Hook in the cinema and I thought it was absolutely shit, I didn’t like Mrs.Doubtfire the first time I saw it and then it seemed to me that Williams went on a run of really weird kids films like Jumanji, Flubber, Patch Adams etc. and I just thought he was some kind of freak who was obsessed with entertaining children. When I was older I saw Awakenings, which for me, alongside Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting was one of his best films, I even enjoyed One Hour Photo and the child obsessed freak’s reputation was somewhat restored in my eyes. In summary Robin Williams was a bit of a curio to me in terms of acting, I went from not quite trusting him to liking him, without ever feeling strongly about him either way. 

Robin Williams - Bicentennial Man
'We need to get a new agent'

So where am I going? The other night I was going down through my Facebook feed and I saw a video of a very young Jim Carrey (below) doing an impression of Robin Williams in Mork & Mindy (I think from 1982). Anyone who has known me for quite a while will know that Carrey is one of my favourite actors, yes, he has been in absolutely terrible films over the last decade (and before then), however, my favourite film, in a guilty pleasure sense is The Cable Guy, panned by critics and at the box office, but I could watch it anytime, anywhere, and at one stage could almost quote the entire film, I wish I was exaggerating. Seeing that 50 second clip of a young Carrey impersonating Williams pulled on something, because I recalled an interview with Carrey over 10 years ago in The Sunday Times where he discussed his own struggle with depression. I remember reading it in disbelief (I still have the clipping), how could someone who is seemingly happy 24/7 feel so down that they can’t even get out of bed? How could this man who makes a living from making people laugh, and does it bloody brilliantly at times, plunge into a dark, deep pit inside himself?

Jim Carrey Impersonates Robin Williams

While I can’t back it up scientifically right here in this post, there does seem to be some truth to the common idea that those who suffer from depression, or take their own lives, are not what the rest of us would consider as people who we would ‘expect’ to do so, without sounding too crass. ‘No one had a clue’, ‘There was never any sign they were unhappy’, ‘I only met him / her last week and they were grand.’ On a personal note depression and suicide are two things I feel very strong about, thankfully I’ve never suffered from the illness, and the only reason I haven’t is because I got lucky. I hate the stigma that is attached to it, like so many things in Ireland, on a broader level culturally we are a nation of people who do not talk about ‘shameful’ things, or ‘weaknesses’, which is extremely unhealthy both physically and mentally. There is an onus on all of us to educate ourselves about depression and suicide, and not just because it’s a worthy cause, there are lots of different worthy causes out there, but because the odds are very highly stacked that there is someone close to each of us, in our family, among our circle of friends, someone at work, a neighbour who is struggling desperately, suffering from this awful disease, and we are completely oblivious to it, and the signs. 

The CSO released figures in 2010 that showed that 1 in 10 Irish people suffer from depression, the most likely age group to commit suicide was in the 20-24 age bracket and of the 495 recorded suicides in Ireland that year, 82% were men, shocking statistics, and probably conservative figures given the aforementioned stigma. So one small, good thing that came out of Robin Williams’ untimely death this week for me was that it’s reminded me to educate myself more on the topics of depression and suicide, and that I must watch Awakenings again. Thanks Robin.

Awakenings, Trailer

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

New Single from Boy & Bear, 'Three Headed Woman'

Boy & Bear, 'Three Headed Woman'

Info: Boy & Bear are an indie-folk quintet from Sydney, Australia very much in the vein of Band of Horses, The War on Drugs and The Shins, but, with a far sunnier disposition and some lovely Dire Straits-esque guitar riffs. Their second single from 2013's Harlequin Dream, 'Three Headed Woman' (above) is due for release in Ireland on the 12th of September. The album itself is the follow up to 2011's Moonfire which was my own first taste of Boy & Bear, and went straight to No.1 in Australia whilst receiving critical acclaim in the U.K..

'Three Headed Woman' is the second single from Harlequin Dream, and alongside the infectious 'Summer Sun', gives a good indicator of what the remainder of the album holds. Just over six weeks following the album's Irish release, Boy & Bear will be playing in Whelans of Wexford Street on Sunday, 9th of November, tickets are currently retailing at €13.00 which is a bargain for one of Australia's brightest new exports, and you can get them on

Boy & Bear, 'Summer Sun'

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Blog Awards Ireland 2014

Firstly a big thank you to everyone who has visited the blog, not just in the past year but since it's earliest, humble beginnings, and a particular thank you to all of the great bands and artists who have been in touch with their music, probably one of the most rewarding outcomes for me personally. 

If you have a chance I'd really appreciate a quick hat tip for Best Blog Post in this years Blog Awards, it's really easy, just follow this link,, scroll down until you find Remy's Music & Film Blog, click on the circle beside it and then scroll right to the bottom of the page and click VOTE! But before you do that, you may be wondering what the actual post is, well, it's a review of our (other) favourite films from 2013 that I did with Gavin back in January this year, check it out below, you might get some ideas for something to watch even at this stage, thanks again!


Link to original blog post: 

10 Acts To Catch At Electric Picnic, 2014, Part 2

And so on to Part Deux, and the next 5 lesser known acts that might be worth trundling along to at Stradbally at the end of the month.....

6) Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Neo-psychedelia, pop-rock, call it what you will, these guys pack bang for their buck all across the board, a 360 degree sonic boom that will leave your head spinning, even from a position of complete sobriety. Transcendence is the key here, so if you're stuck with a group of people with splintered taste in music, this may well be the act that brings you all together in a rapturous joy....or something to that effect.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 'FFunny FFriends'

Albums to check out: Unknown Mortal Orchestra (2011), ll (2013)

7) The Blades - Dublin band, The Blades, were formed in 1977 and were Ireland's answer to The Clash (whether intentionally or not) who played their part in the mod revival era. Unashamedly working-class, The Blades played the less frequented venues of the city at the time such as The Magnet on Pearse Street (now a Spar) and McGonagle's on South Anne Street (now the Hackett London fine clothes emporium!). After splitting up in 1986, the band reformed briefly for two nights at The Olympia last December, Electric Picnic may be one of the last chances to see these cult heroes live.

The Blades, 'The Bride Wore White' - poor sound :(

Albums to check out: Raytown Revisited (1985), The Last Man In Europe (1986) 

8) Perfume Genius - There are way too many singer / songwriters and folky types around these days it's impossible to keep track of them all, but one of my stand out favourites from the last few years has been the hauntingly beautiful Iowan, Mike Hadreas, aka, Perfume Genius. Contemplative, sad and uplifting, this fella will be a good call for anyone doing some deep soul searching at Picnic after a (few) hard night(s), or maybe if you just want something to soothe your headache. He has a new album out at the end of September too so it'll be a chance to hear a sneak peak while you're at it.

Perfume Genius, 'All Waters'

Albums to check out: Put Your Back N 2 It (2012)

9) Vancouver Sleep Clinic - My dark horse for Electric Picnic and beyond. Very much like Bon Iver, but very much standing on his own two feet, Australian Tim Bettinson, aka Vancouver Sleep Clinic, only released his debut 6-track EP, Winter, in March of this year. Growing up on his father's collection of Eagles and Fleetwood Mac records, his turning point came when he stumbled across the aforementioned Bon Iver, and Sigur Rós, citing For Emma Forever Ago and Valtari respectively as key albums in driving him towards producing his own music. Tim is 18, and Tim knows how to mix his electronic R&B.

Vancouver Sleep Clinic, 'Collapse'

Albums to check out: Winter (EP) (2014)

10) Young Fathers - Finishing on a strong note and a highly recommended one is UK hip-hop act Young Fathers. Thumping beats, great vocals and a driving rhythm combined to great effect on their first two albums, Tape One and Tape Two, admittedly I haven't heard anything from the new album, Dead, but by all accounts it seems to have kept the quality of the first two going. Though with some acts it can be hard to tell if they can pull off a good live show, the club-like energy of Young Fathers' music and reviews of past performances make them one of the more reliable destinations at this years Electric Picnic.

Young Fathers, 'Deadline'

Albums to check out: Tape One (2011), Tape Two (2013)